Peter Macmillan - Escape from Hong Kong - The Final Hours

HERO  Kukong RosetteAdmiral Chan Chak in Kukong   
  Click here to read more ©Admiral Chan Chak is greeted in Kukong, Photos from the Ashby, Chan Chak & Collingwood collections © Admiral Chan Chak and party arriving in Waichow   
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  Photo from Admiral Chan Chak's collection ©HERO


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Peter Hugh Macmillan

29/07/1913 - 15/01/1974

Capt Peter Macmillan R.A. in Waichow  
    Click here to return to the Waichow photo  
    Photo from the Ross family collection ©

Captain Peter Macmillan

Click here for more information on Capt Macmillan.

Father: John Victor Macmillan, Bishop of Guildford 1934-1949.

Father in Law : Vice-Admiral Vincent Barkly Molteno.

Capt macmillan worked under Maj Goring GOC3 BHQ in Inteligence at Battle HQ [17]

Captain Macmillan, the son of a Bishop, was an old Etonian and Oxford rowing blue, arrived in Hong Kong in January 1939 serving in the 8th Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery. In October 1940 he transferred to the Battle Box HQ as a General Staff Officer, 3rd grade (GSO3) (Operations). His wife Viola and son Robert were enroute to Hong Kong to join him when they were interned by the IJA in Manila in the Philippines.

After his escape from Hong Kong, Peter, along with other staff officers, left Kukong by truck for Nanxiong, an old walled town where there was an air strip. They flew out late that night, destination Chungking.

The escape launch from the scuttled HMS Cornflower



Left: HMS Cornflower launch







The arrival in Chungking of Cmdr Hugh Montague RN (Rtrd), Police Supt Bill Robinson of the Indian Police Intelligence unit, Captain Peter Macmillan, Captain Reginald (Freddie) Guest, Sq-Ldr Max Oxford, all staff officers of HKBHQ, David MacDougall, and Edwin (Ted) Ross both of the Ministry of Information arrival in the early hours made the British national and regional press the same day 15th January 1942.

Macmillan along with Cmdr Montague RN and Ted Ross flew out to Delhi via Calcutta on the 28th January 1942. Staying at the "Great Eastern Hotel" in Calcutta. A few days later he was surprised to see fellow escapee Captain Freddie Guest arrive there.

03/1942 Author, with Maj Goring, Notes on the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong 1941 Dec. UK National Archives Ref: CAB 106/11

Peter spent 18 months in the RAF from 1933 before joining the Army on 15th July 1935 as 2nd Lt TA. 65427

Admiral Chan Chak calmly took to the waves 
	Photo from Maj Goring's  article on the escape © 
	Click here for more information

Adm Chan Chak: "The Danish steer man was the first one shot, then the engineer. MacDougall and others were wounded. Most of the stray bullets had hit the boat and even some had hit my helmet.
Hsu was very wary about me the “One Foot Admiral of 50” swimming such a far distance.
I insisted to carry my own gun and passport. Yeung could not swim and he suggested that we should go back to Hong Kong. “Going back means surrender. I would rather die!” I said.
I took off my life preserver (which was the last one on board) and gave it to Yeung. As I raised my hand, a stray bullet went right through my left hand.
Yeung didn’t say anything anymore, he just jumped into the sea, followed by MacDougall with his wounded back.
YeeSiu-Kee and 2 other British soldiers had to remain on the boat. Yee could not swim and the 2 soldiers were badly wounded.
We were all sitting ducks in the water and non-stop bullets were flying everywhere.
I finally swam ashore on the small island right next to Apliechau."

Left: Photo from Maj Goring's daring-do article on the escape published in 1949. [17]

Along with S.K. were two severely wounded volunteer crew left in the boat, the tall forty seven year old Jutlander, Alec (Alexis) Damsgaard, late Master of the C.S. Store Nordiske, & Sub-Lt J. J. Forster HKRNVR from Northern Ireland. After drifting all night S.K. bribed a junk man to take the two wounded to a hospital.

S.K. Yee: "I put the two others on a junk, asking the fishermen to take them to a hospital on the mainland in Kwangtung Province.
I was kept some days at Pak Sha wan and subsequently I had to return to the church at Apliechau, which was under the Reverend Cheng. I took shelter at the church for some days before making my final escape to Free China."

Of the sixteen who set out on launch of "HMS Cornflower" (II), two were killed, one taken prisoner, another made good his own escape while the remaining twelve made it to the MTB's.

S.K, wearing Hsu Heng (Henry)'s shoes and clutching his bible, sought refuge with the Reverend Cheng in the Harbour Mission Church on Ap Lei Pai opposite Aberdeen. He eventually made his way to Kukong in free China where Chan Chak was still recovering. SK arrived on 5th February 1942 still wearing Hsu Heng (Henry)'s shoes, only to leave two days later as mysteriously as he had arrived after falling out with Chan over the allegedly missing $40.000 (£2,500 GBP) They remained bitter opponents for the rest of Chan's life.



Admiral Chan Chak & escape party at Waichow 30th Dec 1941
    Run the curser over to identify individuals.
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Supt Bill Robinson
    Click here to read more on Bill Robinson
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Captain Peter Macmillan RA
    Click here to read more on Peter Macmillan

Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Captain Reginold [Freddie] Guest 1st Middlesex
    Click here to read more on Freddie Guest
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Coxswain Yeung Chuen ROC
    Click here to read more on Yeung Chuen 
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © David MacDougall, MoI, Colonial Service
    Click here to read more on David MacDougall
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Admiral Chan Chak ROC
    Click here to read more on Admiral Chan Chak
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Major Arthur Goring, Probyns Horse
    Click here to read more on Major Goring
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Holger Christensen, Midshipman
    Click here to read more on Holger Christensen
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection ©



Back row: Supt. Bill Robinson, W. O. William M Wright HKRNVR, Capt. Peter Macmillan R. A., Capt. Reginald Guest 1st Mdsx, Coxswain Yeung Chuen ROC, Ted Ross MoI>

2nd row: David MacDougall MoI, Adm Chan Chak ROC, Major Arthur Goring Probyns Horse, Sq-Ldr. Max Oxford RAF

1st row: Cadet Holger Christensen, Lt-Cmd Hsu Heng (Henry) ROC.

Photo from Chan Chak collection ©








The four who were wounded, killed, captured or escaped seperately

Alexis DamsgaardJJ ForsterDouglas HarleySK Yee

Alexis Damsgaard wounded POW. JJ Forster died of wounds. D Harley wounded/drowned. SK Yee escaped seperately

Peter Macmillan arriving in Kukong 6th Jan 1942 ©

Capt Peter Macmillan arriving in Kukong 6th January 1942.

Peter wrote an article titled "Story of the 2/14th Punjab Regiment"

Colonel Peter Macmillan  
    Photo from the Macmillan family collection ©

He retired after 35 years service on 15th June 1965 with the rank of Colonel.

Photo from tMacmillan collection ©

Fore more information on Peter Macmillan click here.





Research and web publication by Buddy Hide Jnr ©

The contents of this web site led to a considerable number of escapee families contacting me and now each other, and remains the principle source of contact and private information for the spin off projects that have followed. The personal accounts enabled me to record the complete and true account of this remarkable episode of Sino-British war time co-operation. The information compiled here has directly resulted in a museum exhibition in Hong Kong, a re-enactment of the escape in Hong Kong and China, with a movie drama and documentary in the making.

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